An Art Lesson to Last a Lifetime

Let Me Illustrate My Point

Artistic expression Coco and Yogi
(Copyright © 2014 Paula Ogier)

I was probably about 13 when it happened. There was a teenage female model sitting on an elevated area on one side of the classroom while my art class drew and painted her image. I didn’t look at what anyone else was doing. I just painted.

When we were asked to stop and show our paintings, the class made fun of mine. They giggled, they moaned, they rolled their eyes. Why? The girl in my painting had bright orange skin and hair. She looked nothing, color-wise, like the model. I hadn’t thought anything of it while painting it, but the apparent strangeness of it in this 60s-era suburban Midwest classroom brought on complaints. From everyone except the teacher.

This high school teacher, who oddly enough is nameless and faceless to me now, responded to my classmates’ reactions in a way that I have never forgotten. She questioned why anyone thought my colors…

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